Financial Incentives Encourage Weight Loss in Low-Income Adults

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Outcome-based and goal-directed financial incentives similarly effective

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Financial incentive strategies are more effective than providing resources only for clinically significant weight loss in low-income populations with obesity, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Joseph A. Ladapo, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, and colleagues randomly assigned 668 adults with obesity living in low-income neighborhoods to goal-directed incentives, outcome-based incentives, or a resources-only group. Incentives were ≤$750, while all received a one-year commercial weight-loss program membership, self-monitoring tools (digital scale, food journal, and physical activity monitor), health education, and monthly one-on-one check-in visits.

The researchers found that at six months, the proportion of patients who lost at least 5 percent of baseline weight was 22.1 percent in the resources-only group, 39.0 percent in the goal-directed group, and 49.1 percent in the outcome-based incentive group (difference, 10.08 percentage points for outcome-based versus goal-directed; difference, 27.03 percentage points and 16.95 percentage points for outcome-based or goal-directed versus resources only, respectively). The mean percentage of weight loss was similar in the incentive arms. In the goal-directed group, the mean earned incentives were $440.44 versus $303.56 in the outcome-based group. However, incentives did not improve financial well-being.

“New tools are needed beyond encouragement and education to help some people struggling to cope with obesity,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our national approach has to include multiple approaches, including incentives tailored to the different needs of groups most profoundly impacted by illness and disease tied to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.”

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Copyright © 2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.